While car sales soften in the mass market, the top end is still buoyant. And there are plenty of choices for those who might want an SUV with uber performance. The new Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT Coupe is one to add to the list.
The quickest and most expensive Porsche Cayenne one can buy here is the new Turbo GT, all $369,900 of it. That gets you the ‘standout athlete’ of the newly revised Cayenne range, complete with 485kW worth of outrageousness.
The Turbo GT came along in 2021, available only in the swoopy Coupe body and, as Porsche puts it, the GT ‘combines the spaciousness and practicality of an SUV with track-worthy handling’.
Now it’s back, faster, louder and racier. It’s now so potent that it falls foul of emissions laws in many markets. Not here, though you need to pay an extra $6900 in naughty gas tax. For how much longer though eh Seymour?
After a winter of weather discontent, it makes sense to warm things up a bit with unregulated fuel burning. Those who wish to balance their conspicuous consumption might like to wait for the new Turbo E-Hybrid, with 544kW from its electrified powertrain.
It’s not quite as quick on account of its extra weight but, thanks to that heavy battery, it has an EV range of up to 82km. It’s not quite as expensive either.
But back to the real Turbo, the GT’s 4.0-litre twin turbo gains 14 extra kWs, thanks to modified internals and a special titanium sports exhaust. That helps it attain a 305km/h vmax with the ability to cover the first third of that in just 3.3sec.
But the Cayenne GT is no one-trick filly. Porsche has upped the front end’s worthiness by way of a wider track and more camber, while the new ‘two-chamber two-valve’ air springs get a sports tuning.
And it comes with every measure of dynamic enhancement known in the Porsche realm; ceramic stoppers, active roll suppression, rear steer and an active torque vectoring rear diff all fitted as standard equipment.
It also rolls on 22s, has enlarged intakes on the front, a carbon roof and spoiler while it also gets an active wing that sprouts at speed. Being the range topper there are few options needed while those offered are more in line with customising your ride.
So, spacious and practical?
Being the coupe, it’s not quite as practical as the regular Cayenne, while the GT is fitted with the ‘sports rear seat system’.
That means there are two individual seats back there, the cushions sporting extra bolstering to stop passengers sliding around when the driver is generating an excess of cornering Gs.
Despite the sloping roofline, there is enough rear head room and no need to duck on entry. The boot is still plenty big enough too, though not quite as voluminous as the normal Cayenne’s (538L vs 670) thanks to its fastback tailgate.
The central exit exhaust looks the business but it means no towbar can be fitted and on a cold morning, the rising exhaust steam clouds out the rear view camera.
Given it’s the range topper, the cabin is lined with more leather than the base model, there are additional carbon inlays all over the place and the steering wheel is wrapped in Race-Tex.
There are more standard spec items too like new screens, instruments with configurable views, and the touch screen is wider with added layers of connectivity and embedded apps.
We like the easy-to-use panel on the dash for the air con, and eventually got used to the new position for the gear lever. Porsche should embrace a better multi-function steering wheel; a few more buttons might help ease operations. The drive mode selector is well placed on the wheel and easy to operate, as is the wand for the active cruise.
The round town ride is generally good considering the mammoth 22s. Steering has a meaty feel to it, and can be quite heavy at parking speeds.
Hinting at its track-worthy DNA, the dynamic suspension geometry has the wide front tyres chattering too at slow speed on full lock, but the rear-wheel steer helps it manoeuvre about more easily, the turning circle thoroughly decent for a big SUV.
The V8 generates its big numbers thanks to some solid boost so the bulk of the torque arrives when the tacho needle swings past 2500rpm.
Still, there’s plenty for easing through traffic; it just means you’re not as quick off the mark or onto the motorway as your mates in their Taycan Turbos.
This loves gas too. The long term average over 1800km was sitting at 20.9L/100km, but more depressing perhaps was the average speed for that distance, just 30km/h.
It meets its quoted numbers imbibing 98 octane, now at around $3.20 a litre. That means about $280 to fill ‘er up.
Worth it for the performance?
This is a true monster. It’s said to clock 100km/h in 3.3sec, but a heavy shower just as we plugged in our test gear ruined the party. Being AWD though, we thought we’d give it a go, but with 850Nm on tap, the rear wheels wouldn’t stick so we erred on the side of caution.
It still managed to go under four seconds, and a 80-120 of 1.95sec is pretty damn quick for a 2.2 tonne terror.
Not that it feels cumbersome on the go. It’s a stranger to understeer. With the variable AWD’s rearward bias, the active torque vectoring diff and adaptive roll control, it rounds up bends in stellar fashion.
There’s also lots of rubbery grip thanks to the massive treads. The front end is keen, diving into bends as the rear-wheel steer does its thing. The helm itself is good for an SUV, firm but direct and accurate.
The big brakes have a tactile pedal feel, biting quickly but progressively to let you balance it deftly into the turn. And despite the weight, it’s all marvellously managed by the active sway bars and the variable air springs.
The GT’s about perfect in Sport mode, firm enough but not jarring as it can be in the Sport plus setting which is a true track set-up. The powertrain response is bang on too as it holds gears during brief throttle lifts, and times a downshift well when you’re on the picks.
The V8 is better above 3000rpm, and really roars from 4000 to just shy of 7000rpm. But then you’re looking nervously in the rear view mirror and braking furiously.
Any last thoughts?
This is all about the superlatives; it’s amongst the fastest and most impressive of the Super SUVs. It’s loud and visceral and gob smacking.
It’s also exclusive, asking more than similarly potent M, AMG, RS and SVR badged options. Yet it undercuts the likes of the DBX, Urus and Bentayga. Well positioned then, as a Porsche sales person might say.
|Model||Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT|
|Clean Car Discount||Fee – $6,900|
|Engine||3996cc, V8, T, DI|
|Drivetrain||8-speed auto / AWD|
|Stability systems||ABS, ESP, TV|
|Safety||AEB, ACC, BSM, LDW,|
RCTA, ALK, AHB
|Tow rating||Not rated to tow|
|Service intervals||12 months/15,000km|
|Warranty||5 years/Unlimited km|
|ANCAP rating||Not rated|